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Taste the power of Tekka


Tekka is a mineral rich miso condiment made with ground sesame seeds, finely minced carrots, burdock root (cocklebur), and lotus root. Slowly cooked with unrefined sesame oil and hatcho miso. Strongly concentrated and best used sparingly.

History of Tekka
This nutritious table condiment was specially formulated by the founder of modern macrobiotics, George Ohsawa (1893-1966). He strongly believed that modern refined foods, along with high consumption of animal protein and fat, are the major causes of modern degenerative diseases and that whole natural foods with their intrinsic healing properties can restore our health. So he developed Tekka to help counteract the effects of refined sugar, refined grains, and other nutritionally deficient modern highly processed and refined foods.

Its properties
According to the macrobiotic principles taught by George Ohsawa, tekka is a strongly contracting or ‘yang’ condiment, as is salt, yet offers qualities far beyond salt alone. The Japanese have a long history of using condiments to enhance and balance their grain and vegetable based diet. These condiments not only add flavor to foods but also provide lots of minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. They are often used like herbs to treat a variety of conditions. Unlike Western Society, Japanese do not have a tradition of sprinkling raw salt on their food. Instead, they prepare condiments in which the salt is either cooked with other ingredients or roasted and ground prior to use. Tekka is prepared in this tradition with its saltiness coming solely from hatcho miso.

The process of making Tekka
The traditional manner is a time consuming and laborious process. After aging hacho miso for three years it is ground into a smooth paste. Equal proportions of burdock root (cocklebur or Arctium lappa, Articum majus), carrot, and lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera) are finely minced. The burdock is sauteed with unrefined sesame oil in cast iron cauldrons for several minutes.

The carrot and lotus root are then added and sauteed several minutes. The hacho miso is added and evenly mixed with the vegetables and ground sesame seeds. Lastly, the mixture is sauteed over low heat for five to seven hours. During this long slow cooking process the liquid in the vegetables and miso evaporates completely, resulting in a dry, deep black, strengthening and energizing condiment. The name “Tekka” is derived from the words tetsu “iron” and ka “fire”, so it literally means “iron fire“.

How to eat Tekka
Tekka is strongly concentrated. A moderate amount, about one-quarter to one-half teaspoon, can be used occasionally to add delicious flavor and nutrients to food. Simply sprinkle a small amount of tekka over brown rice and other cooked whole grain, noodles, vegetables or salad.

Tekka against anemia
Since it is iron-rich, you can use Tekka to improve anemia instead of iron pills. About one-quarter teaspoon should be enough if used daily. If you use too much you may find yourself wanting to drink excessive quantities of orange juice, coffee, or to use vinegar or other acid foods not particularly conducive to improving an anemic condition.
Other benefits from using Tekka. Eating tekka strengthens weak blood, helps cure asthma and diarrhea, and can relieve migraine headaches caused from consumption of ‘expansive’ foods.

Posted March 2008

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Proposals for the definition of a “Macrobiotic Dietary Pattern”
by Carlo Guglielmo




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